I use the following grading scale in my courses. If you have
questions about your score on a particular piece of work, just ask me
- Graded Items:
- A "graded item" is any work receiving a grade; for
example a homework, an exam, a quiz, or class
participation. Each graded item is graded on a 100
point scale, where these numeric scores may be "curved"
to get a more reasonable grade distribution.
If I receive no work for an item, the its score
(including its "curved" score) is zero. In
undergraduate (College) courses I typically curve the non-zero
scores so that the median is at least 85. In
graduate courses (LGS), the target may be higher (like 87).
I may not always curve in this way, especially in a small or
- Grade Scale:
- For the course letter grade, the curved item scores
are simply combined as a weighted average, and then
your course letter grade is determined by the following
| 93 and above ||A ||A
| 90 to 92.99 ||A- ||A-
| 87 to 89.99 ||B+ ||B+
| 83 to 86.99 ||B ||B
| 80 to 82.99 ||B- ||B-
| 77 to 79.99 ||C+ ||C+
| 73 to 76.99 ||C ||C
| 70 to 72.99 ||C- ||C
| 67 to 69.99 ||D+ ||F
| 60 to 66.99 ||D ||F
| 0 to 59.99 ||F ||F
Emory College does not allow A+ or D- as letter grades. The
LGS does not allow C- or below. The Math/CS department
requires a "major GPA" of at least 2.0 (C).
- Choice of Weights:
- The relative weights of the graded
items should be declared early in the semester. For example, if I say
that homeworks will count for 50% of your grade, then this means that
they will have weights (probably equal) summing to 1/2. Or I could
say that all homeworks will count equally, and the final exam will be
weighted like three homeworks. In that case, the exact weight of the
final exam will depend on the number of homeworks.
- I may offer makeup versions of some assignments. If
attempted, the score on a makeup replaces a previous score.
A makeup typically has a maximum score less than 100.
- Extra Credit:
- Extra credit problems are expected to be difficult. If solved,
these problems simply increase the score of that homework or exam.
The exact increase and formula will be specified with the problem.
- Low Scores:
- In a course with many small marks (for example, weekly quizzes or labs),
I may offer to "throw out" the lowest mark before averaging.
Otherwise, the process is the same.
- S/U Grading (also known as pass/fail):
- For S/U grading, S is equivalent to a letter grade of D or higher.
S/U courses cannot count towards a Math/CS major or minor.
Now I point out some consequences of the policy:
- Curving happens on the individual graded items, not at the end of
the semester. This is intended to keep you well informed about your
standing in the course. That is, you can average your scores during
the semester, and that average should be a fairly good predictor of
your final grade.
- Although individual graded items may receive a letter grade, what
really matters is the curved score (the number), which is used to
compute the final average.
- Note that the F range is very wide. Because scores are
numerically averaged, a 40 or 50 is much easier to overcome than a 0.
For this reason, you should always turn in your work, even if it is
incomplete and you expect a failing grade.
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2018